Nanakuli Home A Total Loss, Kids Playing With Fire To Blame

Terry Seelig
Terry Seelig

NANKULI (KHNL) - The fire has left two families, consisting of a total of 14 people, without a home.

Investigators say kids playing with either matches or a lighter started the fire.

Flames spread quickly and gutted the top floor Tuesday.

There is smoke and water damage to the first floor.

Everyone got out safely, But a frightened four year-old boy escaped the smoke by hiding under the burning home.

Fast acting bystanders found him and pulled him to safety.

You could see just how fast the house went up in flames.

There's not a lot of time to think. just time to react.

That's why Honolulu Fire officials say now is the time to practice a family fire plan.

Neighbors were alerted by smoke from an out-of-control house fire. And when firefighters arrive they hook up hoses and knock down the flames.

Their first concern, saving lives.

Captain Terry Seelig explains, "Our first priority in any fire is to be sure everyone is safe and keep them safe and we always want to know if someone is still inside when we arrive."

It's not always clear if anyone is trapped inside. Rescuer Matthew Mauai went into action, "Then I heard her say, where is my son? Where is my son? We looked for her son. Somebody says look under the house. We run under the house see him drag him out.

The boy was frozen in fear, common says Captain Seelig, "Young children will often be confused or scared when there is a fire and they will go somewhere where they feel safe, it can be a closet or under a bed in this case the young boy hid under the house."

Mauai is grateful, "Seen him hiding under house, no like to come out, so I had to run underneath drag him out.."

Seelig believes family fire drills prevent confusion. "Especially with young children, they need to be directed and going through the escape plan ahead of time will help them to know what to do when there is a fire."

Always designate a safe place to gather "You want to have a meeting place that is safe and recognizable," says Captian Seelig.

In the next few weeks kids will bring home fire safety pamphlets from school so you can practice.